Gregory MacMartin says just don’t make the type of videogame he likes to play.
That’s why he’s making his own.
MacMartin is the CEO of Interdimensional Games, a Vancouver-based company that’s currently raising money on Kickstarter to fund the development of its second game, Consortium: The Tower.
“It’s a hard science fiction, single player, immersive simulation,” he says. “It’s a game that is derived from a kind of game that is almost extinct.”
He points to games like the original Deus Ex, Ultima Underworld and System Shock, which came out in the 90s and early 2000s, as his main influences.
“Imagine those games on steroids,” he says.
At its core is the idea that the player should be as much of a part of the story as all the characters in the game.
“I find that most modern AAA videogames, that are touted as being story driven, are really just massive production movies with occasional combat gameplay sprinkled in,” he says.
While many of those games look good and have clever puzzles, he says, “it bothers me that there’s so little attention to all the other aspects of what makes a game immersive.”
In Consortium: The Tower, players can choose to talk to any non-player character at any time, or they can play through the game without talking to any other characters; conversely while there’s a combat system, players can play-through without drawing their gun a single time. Even mission objectives can be ignored – changing the story.
“Our whole company is based around trying to push the boundaries of interactive storytelling” he says. “you have total control, we never take control away from the player, there’s no cutscenes. It’s a completely reactive world with systems designed to let you do whatever you want.”
MacMartin says there’s a simple reason for why games like this don’t get made very often.
“It’s easier to make money on other type of games, it’s easier to make money on mobile,” he says, “it’s easier to make money on multi-player games.”
While MacMartin says he’d like to make money with his games, that’s not the driving force.
This is the second time that MacMartin and his team have turned to Kickstarter to fund a game. In 2013, Interdimensional Games raised $70,000 to fund the development of Consortium, the first game in what he hopes will be a trilogy.
While the game had some bugs on release, it was relatively well-received.
With the second instalment, MacMartin says he’s learned from the mistakes he made the first time around and, with a larger budget, will be able to spend more time in testing.
Still, raising money for a game through crowdfunding is a challenge.
Many of the successful campaigns play to nostalgia and while MacMartin may draw influences from older games, what he hopes to build is certainly not retro.
There’s also a long list of games that were successfully funded and failed to deliver.
“That’s the type of stuff we’re fighting against,” he says. “We’re a solid team that has delivered, we have a track record, we’ve shipped a game.”
Interdimensional Games is looking to raise $450,000. With around two weeks left, it had raised $123,543. Backers can get the game for $22. It will be available for Windows, Mac, Xbox One and PS4.